News: Online Leicester Comedy Festival Launches

This year's Leicester Comedy Festival – going online for the first time – launches tonight.

Leicester Comedy Festival started in 1994 with 40 events programmed into 23 venues over 7 days throughout Leicestershire. In 1994 it attracted an audience of 5,000. This year adjusted for Covid constraints the Festival will be livestreamed and will feature over 300 performances from 100+ comedians.

Producers of the festival have spent the last few months trawling through their photo archive and have unearthed a selection of images from past festivals including Jo Brand, Jason Manford and Bill Bailey can be found here: Leicester Festival Archive Images

Tom Allen will be joining some of our best known comedians, many of them festival regulars and long-time supporters of the festival, in exclusive online interviews with festival founder Geoff Rowe about their comedy careers, including highlights, and discussing the future of live comedy. Each Q&A lasts 60minutes with all proceeds going to the charity Big Difference Company, producers of the Leicester Comedy Festival since 1994.  Other interview guests include Stewart Lee, Al Murray, Zoe Lyons, Angela Barnes and Ed Byrne.

Other comedians confirmed to appear live include Helen Bauer, Lucy Beaumont, Daliso Chaponda, Sophie Duker, Jessica Fostekew, Tim Key, Sarah Keyworth, Olga Koch, Tez Ilyas, Tony Law, Thanyia Moore, Patrick Monahan, Ahir Shah, Ian Stirling, Mark Thomas, Felicity Ward and  Mark Watson.

The events will be viewable thanks to a new deal with NextUp Comedy, the Festivals Official Streaming Partner and the UKs #1 comedy streaming platform. The UK Kid’s Comedy Festival will also return during the same dates.  The festivals are supported by Leicester City Council, De Montfort University and Union Jack Radio.

Many of the festival’s trademark special events such as the hugely popular UK Pun Championships and the Leicester Mercury Comedian of the Year Competition have been postponed until later in the year 

The Stand Up Challenge  featuring Shadow Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Jon Ashworth MP  will take place in June. This fundraising event has taken place each year since 2015 and has raised significant amounts of money for charity.  Participants receive mentoring from comedian Anthony King, who provides support with writing and rehearsing the 5-minute stand-up routines.  All participants are encouraged to raise money to help sustain the festival and the community projects delivered by Big Difference Company throughout the year.  Previous projects have included working with children and young people, people with disabilities and older people.

Leicester Comedy Festival makes a significant contribution to the cultural life of England, regularly featuring over 1,000 comedians, performing in over 90 venues to an audience of 135,000. The festival also has an estimated economic impact of over £3million per year to the local economy. As part of the festival, the charity works closely with local community groups to ensure the smile spreads as widely as possible by organising workshops and activities, which engage hundreds of people each year.

www.comedy-festival.co.uk

www.standupchallenge.co.uk

www.nextupcomedy.com

 

Stewart Lee picture by Idil Sukan 

 

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